Judge Asked to Expedite Porn-Condom Referendum Suit

Rhett Pardon

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office plans on moving its suit against the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's ballot initiative proposal on the fast track, asking a judge today to move up motions so an opinion can be reached in late January.

The city's suit, filed at Los Angeles Superior Court, said that the initiative is preempted by state law, specifically California Labor Section 144.7, which mandates the use of barrier protection in the workplace when employees are exposed to blood borne pathogens and that Cal/OSHA has exclusive jurisdiction over the issue.

At Tuesday's City Council meeting, two councilmen, Bill Rosendahl and Paul Koretz, introduced an emergency motion to dismiss the suit. Both political leaders who represent the Westside of the city said that they were taken by surprise of the suit, filed last week.

The council briefly recessed into closed session to get an explanation from Assistant City Attorney

Valerie Flores, an assistant City Attorney, said that the council previously was notified of possible litigation in closed session.

"It's pretty rare that a government entity will seek to halt something before it actually gets to the ballot," Koretz said. "I think it sends the wrong anti-democratic message."

AHF's proposal would require safe-sex porn as a condition of getting a filming permit in Los Angeles. The group recently delivered 70,901 signatures to place the initiative on the June 2012 ballot.

The City Attorney's office in its complaint, which seeks declaratory relief to determine validity of the proposed initiative measure, said it was necessary to present a pre-election legal action  because a post-election determination "that a measure is illegal would undermine the public trust."

At post time it was uncertain whether city leaders will move on the emergency motion by Koretz and Rosendahl. City Council meets next on Friday.